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Weight Loss Guinea pig losing weight, vet can't find anything

Squiggles

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Long time, no post. My pig just turned four in May, and has been losing weight constantly. He used to be a big pig at about 1300grams, but now he's around 700. I have taken him repeatedly to the vet (it is a cavy savy one, Dr. Dewey at Veterinary Center for Birds & Exotics) and he has been through every test from bloodwork, to ultrasounds to check for cancers or tumors, to echocardiograms, and he has no issues other than slight regurgitation of the heart, but they did not recommend any medication.

I am at a loss of what to do. I give him critical care with his breakfast every morning, and do have to separate him and his brother during feeding time since the other is a bully with food (his weight is no problem, in fact, he has become heavier when he was the smaller of the two). Dr. Dewey feels it’s just him aging, but the dropping is really worrying me. Is there anything else I can do to put weight on him? Thanks in advance.
 

bpatters

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Four is way too young for age to be the cause of weight loss. It is true that senior pigs gradually lose weight -- usually in a step-wise fashion. They'll lose 50-100 grams, stabilize for a while, then lose that much again. And it occurs over a period of months or years.

How long have you been separating them during feeding time? Has he continued to lose since you started the separation?

What exactly does he eat? What brand of pellets, and how many? What kind of hay, and how much? Which veggies, and how much of each?

Does he seem hungry but just won't or can't eat? Or is he not interested in food?
 

Squiggles

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I feel that four is way too young as well. Six, maybe, but not four.

I started to separate them about two months now. I put him on the loft and the other on the bottom and watch to make sure the other doesn't come and steal his food. Yes, he has continued to drop since then. In the morning I give him a mix of red leaf or green and sometimes some radicchio. At night, the same, along with a slice of green or yellow pepper (twice a week, red or orange), and then switch throughout the week between cilantro, parsley, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, celery, carrot. I throw in an apple, plum or pear slice one day a week.

He gets 1/4 a cup of Oxbow pellets, but she recommended at the time to give him a few of the Science Selective pellets, so I throw those in as well. He was on Oxbow and Small Pet Select, but I feel they're too brown lately and they weren't getting the required amount of hay, so I recently switched to Standlee. He seems to be more interested in that. He has no problem with eating, and eats everything on his plate with no issues.

He just had the ultrasound and double cavity this past Friday. The only thing I haven't tested for is hyperthyroidism, but she said it's difficult to track and I would have to have them do a specific test. Which, I don't mind, but after that, I am out of options what could be causing this.
 
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Squiggles

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As of this morning, he gained a bit back. I'm going to put my hope in that the change of hay could be helping since there's barely any brown as the others have had the past few months. I've gone back to syringe feeding critical care a bit and mixing a bit with his breakfast. I will keep an eye on this thread if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks.
 

Squiggles

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Bumping this. He has gone downhill drastically. He is now close to 800 grams. I am taking him for a T4 today, but other than that, both I and Dr. Dewey are out of options. I feel like a terible owner because he looks sick, and I can't help h im. Eating is fine, other than he's not eating as much hay as his brother does. The only issue is the severe weight loss. Even his coat is perfect and shiny, but because he's losing so quick, he just looks horribly sick. I'm so lost.
 

4boipigs

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Try not to feel too bad, you're obviously taking care of him and getting him to a vet in order to find a solution. It isn't like you're just sitting around doing nothing.
 

Mizz P

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If I may ask - How is his behavior? Still getting along ok with his cagemate? Maybe try different types of hay - oat hay, meadow, orchard, etc. I agree that you are far from a negligent parent - taking necessary steps to monitor the situation.
 

Squiggles

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Thank you both. He was a bit better at the vet. When I weighed him the other night, he was 810g, he was 856. She gave him fluids since it's hot out and he was running a fever, but then he dropped back to normal after fluids and being in a cage with ice towels. She did a full blood panel again, at my request, but they are focusing on the free t4 to see if he is hyperthyroid. She did put him back on gabapentin because he does have early arthritis, and she feels when he was on that, he was maintaining his weight at 950-1000 grams (he used to be 1200+ about a year ago). The only other option is, if this all comes back negative, is that, even though it is mild enlargement of his heart, high blood pressure medicine. Which I can't believe guinea pigs can be on that.


They fight every now and then, but when it's time for feeding, I put one on the loft or in the playpen and the other at the bottom of the cage to make sure they get their fill. It's crazy because his brother, his cagemate is perfectly fine. Not a single issue, and perfectly plump. I have tried everything from oxbow (which I stopped because it was a weird color) to then Small Pet Select (it was beginning to be way brown and very dusty and smelled the last time). Now I'm on Stanely, which is very g reen and fresh, but a bit hard (his brother doesn't mind) so I mixed in some Oxbow Orchard Grass and then also got some Oxbow Oat Hay.
 

Mizz P

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At least with his cagemate, it sounds like you can rule out anything communicable. It's so difficult to just wait it out when you KNOW something isn't right. Sending good wishes...
 

Squiggles

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T4 came back negative. Sigh. She did say his liver values were a little elevated, so she's beginning to think it might be liver/GI related, so they might start him on B12 injections and she did recommend acupuncture. Which must be new, since I never heard of this for any animal. Man, I'm so glad I have pet insurance. 😩
 

Squiggles

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Still dropping. Vet scale says 810. Mine this morning said 785 (I hope it's wrong). Yesterday he had his first acupuncture session along with B12 in some of the needles. He is also now starting milk thistle with an extremely small dose (twice a day, but it's so small I'm worried I'm not even getting it in him). Here's hoping something might begin to work.

My cat has this problem, but he had an biopsy and they found out he has triaditis. Since the guinea pig's liver is slightly elevated, and has a few other symptoms, we're going to assume it's a GI issue, and oddly, he might have the same issue.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Hoping you can get it sorted out and stop the slide. I hate this for pigs.
 

Mizz P

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My previous pig also had liver issues. You can't help but wonder how an animal that lives on vegetable matter could possibly have liver troubles. Does he seem otherwise happy and content?
 

Squiggles

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Other than I feel he seems a little tired, since I see him lying down more than usual, yes. He goes up and down his ramp, walks around the room, plays in his playpen tunnel loop, eats with no problem, fights with his brother, cries for food. The usual. It's just the weightloss and the symptom mentioned above. It's so frustating and I feel so bad because I have dragged this poor pig through every test possible.
 

Squiggles

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Saturday he was 785. Today 806, then just checked again, 814. I'm really really hoping this is the answer. Aside from milk thistle and the acupuncture with B12, I do give him a feeding of 7-10 ml of EmerAid Intensive Care every day. He really favors both (the one from the vet, white powder, and the green mint one) over Critical Care.
 
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Guinea Pig Papa

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At least he is going up now. So very happy to hear that! I know all too well how frustrating that downward spiral is. Do keep us updated!
 

Squiggles

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@Guinea Pig Papa I know. I remember your frustation years back, so I know you can relate. I will, and I hope they're all good updates!
 

ItsaZoo

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You mentioned that you separate them to feed them. I’m assuming you mean when you feed veggies and that you’re keeping hay and pellets available for them at all times. He should be grazing on and off around the clock.
 

Squiggles

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Grazing is no problem. There's four sections with hay in their cage, and the other doesn't bother him. It's when it's time for veggies that he comes to bug him.

It's beginning to show signs it's more GI than anything. I weighed him before he ate last night, he was 794, then after he ate a meal of some lettuce, peppers, half a corn on the cob, and some peaches, he was 850. During the night, he dropped to 816, and then this morning before pellet feeding, he was 797. I have made note to tell her all this when he has his appointment this Friday.
 

Guinea Pig Papa

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Grazing is no problem. There's four sections with hay in their cage, and the other doesn't bother him. It's when it's time for veggies that he comes to bug him.

It's beginning to show signs it's more GI than anything. I weighed him before he ate last night, he was 794, then after he ate a meal of some lettuce, peppers, half a corn on the cob, and some peaches, he was 850. During the night, he dropped to 816, and then this morning before pellet feeding, he was 797. I have made note to tell her all this when he has his appointment this Friday.
That's actually normal. When all of my boys had been sick I weighed the same way you are and found the exact same thing. And I was told not to do that because it's really not reflective of anything and it will only serve to drive you crazy with worry. I would weigh, at most, once a day in the morning. Just to have a gauge of how they're doing.
 

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